Social Media Policies are Essential Tools for Municipalities

Unlike the average social media user, municipalities, as government entities, must make sure that their online presence is consistent with a wider range of state and federal laws.

The best recommendation is to develop a social media policy that addresses important guidelines, including the following:

  • The social media policy should designate an employee who will have a role in managing the municipality’s channels. This person should approve, maintain, and create all posts. The social media policy should require that login information be kept within a secure location. Employees should use official, not personal, email addresses to create accounts for the municipality.
  • All municipal social media accounts should state that they are operated by the municipality. This can be easily accomplished with an appropriate username or handle and a link to an official website. When possible, it may be a good idea to have applicable municipal social media accounts “verified” by the platform, which will indicate to the public that the accounts are authentic.
  • The policy should state that employees use the municipality’s social media for official business only. Anything employees post, like, tweet, or pin is likely to be considered official municipal communication. Employees should not post their personal views and should be trained on how to best address negative feedback.
  • Social media-using government officials should avoid blocking a user or deleting his or her comments on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, and other accounts. By deleting comments, the municipality could violate an individual's First Amendment rights.

Help is available

The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to help municipalities develop social media policies. For more information, please visit our website or call 586-726-1000.

Categories: Municipal